The greenhouse is fast becoming the surprise box of the farm. I’ve been giving it a few days over the past couple of weeks between visits to ensure noticeable change, and the grow fest does not disappoint. Almost all the seeds planted in the first sewing are now up and identifiable. I say identifiable because if it was just about things sprouting, we’d be inundated, as weed seedlings are also in the race for supremacy. I’m glad labeling of each species happened, although I am more a fan of tape and marker on each pot, rather than the maps I drew before we had wind, vole predation, and reorganizing here and there to add more space. But groupings are relatively still intact, and now that true leaves are up, peas and cabbage are noticeably different.
A moment to praise the peas; indeed, these little guys have been through everything and still manage to keep on the bright side of life. From two wind blow overs to vole and slug onslaught, these hearty veggie babes held their ground, even when it was jostled out from under them in a tip over. Though a few were lost to early seed stealing (me thinks a vole); the majority will go in the ground by April first at Leafhopper Farm.
Random acts of daffodil are another most enchanting quality of the greenhouse. These rogue bulbs come from earlier earthworks done last fall. Eventually, these beautiful strays will be dug up and moved to more enthusiastic spaces, allowing for long term enjoyment without the stagnation of accessibility. The majority of daffodils moved last fall are safely re-homed in other beds, or helping to establish new ones. One or two have even found their way into the raised beds, specifically amongst the wildflower and pollinator seed mix test areas. Perhaps they hope to encourage the germinating to sprout tall and one day shine a similar brightness of color back at the sun.
Back in the greenhouse, a number of hazelnut cuttings are leafing out. Fingers crossed that a few of them root and steadily grow into new plants for repopulating this landscape with native nut trees. Hazel also makes an excellent hedge, and a plethora of other materials for use on the farm from tool handles to portable fence panels also called hurdles. Leafhopper Farm has a plan to set its outer fencing with hedgerows, encouraging native species, natural boundaries which create habitat for wildlife and fodder for livestock. There are no hazels established on the property at this time. The current young hopefuls will continue their fostering in the tree nursery across the street when the warmer days come.
Leafhopper Farm is working with many permaculture principles, which often speak of stacking function to maximize efficiency. I like to bend this principle, reaching for new forms of multiplicity abundance. The farm wants to encourage others to take up cultivation on the land, as more hands carry the vision further; lighten the work, and better the quality of life for all things. The greenhouse is hosting my housemate Kat’s garden starts. She has carved out the beginnings of her own kitchen garden behind The Hen House. The land is supporting multiple people in many ways, but food production is one of the more challenging. It really helps to have others putting work into the soil. The returns are invaluable, both in the gift of sustenance, and long term fertility of the farm. It is wonderful to see this shared cultivation continue as the land develops with new intensions of growth.
All this happening under plastic in one greenhouse you ask? Yes, and under one sky, one planet, one people. It’s all connected, ever deepening, and so fast. From seed to plant to plate; each season shows the change, and we are here now for a blip. It makes every time I walk into that greenhouse so profound. The farm lends its self to training the mind into a wakeful state with each breath. The moment that sprout crashes through the earth, reaching up towards a brightness bestowing caressing warmth. This same life-force which blinds the eye of ego, stubborn enough to stare at the sun for too long. Take everything in with temperance, and cultivate that which takes only what it needs; knowing the difference between consumption and compassion.